Well I bet not one person guessed Erik Karlsson‘s ice time would end up being 16:30. Unfortunately the fact that the Senators lost won’t be the big story of the night. The big story of the night will obviously be the fact that the Ottawa Senators were once again hit hard by another injury and the player that was hit was none other than the reigning Norris trophy winner Erik Kalrsson. For the Sens front office and fans has to feel like a semi has hit them. No team could have a bigger loss than Karlsson, he is the heart of the team. More on this later.
The Pittsburgh Penguins came out fast in the first and I don’t think that was unexpected considering they had been waiting for Ottawa for awhile. After Marc Methot tried to clear the puck around the boards it was intercepted by Christ Kunitz who then passed it over to Sidney Crosby, after which he fed Pascal Dupuis with the goal. In the second period Ottawa came out and started strong with the puck possession. The Senators managed to draw two penalties and get over a minute of 5 on 3. The Sens never got anything going on the power play, which much of late has been the case. One second after the penalties ended Stephane Da Costa decided to shoot from what seemed like the Zamboni tunnel (an impossible angle) and managed to find a small gap between the post and Marc-Andre Fleury‘s pads for his first goal this season. Twenty four seconds later Jim O’Brien broke in and got the Senators ahead by one and looked to be grabbing some momentum. About 3 minutes later Chris Phillips was sent off for hooking and Pittsburgh took full advantage as Sidney Crosby made a nice play from behind the net to pass it to James Neal to tie it up at 2.
And then the unthinkable happened… After the play should have been called, as the puck hit the netting, Matt Cooke skates into the corner and lifts his left skate off of the ice and then goes in for the hit and comes down hard onto the back of Karlsson’s left leg. He was helped off the ice and is considered out indefinitely with a lacerated left Achilles tendon. During the 3rd period we began to see what life would be like without him and it was not pretty. The breakout was sloppy and barely any real offensive chances were created. The Penguins coasted to a 4-2 victory with goals from James Neal (3 pts) and Sidney Crosby (3 pts)
- If that 3rd period is what it will be like for the Ottawa Senators without Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson it will be a really tough season. Any kind of offence will be hard to come by and the teams depth has now been hit extremely hard. Not only are the two players mention above out long term Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone would be the players who would have been recalled, but with those two being injured (Mike Hoffman broken collar bone; Mark Stone broken finger) it will be even harder to find someone to replace them.
- Daniel Alfredsson could not seem to get anything going tonight either. It seemed like every time he had a good chance he would totally miss the net. If even the captain can’t get going this season will be painful to watch and will be hard to imagine we will now not be going for a lottery pick.
- I thought Stephane Da Costa and Jim O’Brien had one of their best games ever in a Ottawa Senator uniform. Not only because they scored but they both seemed to have that little extra jump in their skates and created a lot of quality chances during the game.
- The Fact that Pittsburgh has Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen back really helped the mobility on their back end and their breakout. They also added that element of speed and offence they seemed to be missing the past couple games.